LIFE SUPPORT PROJECT PARTNERS PARTICIPATED IN THE EUROPEAN VULTURE CONFERENCE
As part of networking activities with other organizations and projects, representatives of partner organizations of the LIFE SUPport project participated in the European Vulture Conference, dedicated to the preservation of vultures
As part of networking activities with other organizations and projects, representatives of partner organizations of the LIFE SUPport project—BIOM Association, Public Institution Priroda, and Agricultural Cooperative Krk Island—participated in the second European Vulture Conference, dedicated to the preservation of vultures. The organizer of this conference, the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF), is also one of the partner organizations of the LIFE SUPport project.
The four-day event took place in Cáceres, Spain, in mid-November, bringing together more than 370 experts from around the world. This was an extremely valuable opportunity to gather and exchange knowledge and experience in the field of protecting various vulture species. Different species, even those from other continents, end up facing similar threats. The most important of them worldwide are a lack of food due to the removal of carcasses from the environment or the abandonment of open grazing, electrocution from high voltage network infrastructure, and unintentional poisoning. Our project, LIFE SUPport, addresses these critical challenges.
The conference included numerous presentations, plenary discussions, and simultaneous gatherings, providing insights into the latest research results and fostering broad discussions, which covered views on the situation and initiatives at both local and national levels across Europe.
At the conference, Jovan Andevski from the Vulture Conservation Foundation spoke about the Wildlife Crime Academy and how this educational program empowers government representatives and experts at the national level in the fight against wildlife crimes. Specifically, it is the first training of its kind, which provides the necessary skills to relevant stakeholders to effectively fight wildlife-related crime in several European regions. The Academy program was implemented by the regional government of the province of Andalusia, Junta de Andalucía, at the instigation and in cooperation with VCF, within the framework of the European project Balkan Detox LIFE.
The location of the conference was stimulating in itself, as Cáceres is located in Spain’s Extremadura region, renowned as one of the best regions for vulture observing. Spain is home to the largest and most diverse population of vultures in Europe, as the participants had the opportunity to witness during the last day of the conference, when a field trip was organized with the aim of acquainting with the diverse wildlife species of this region. It is crucial that all these species, including vultures, coexist with humans in this area, within habitats that are significantly influenced by agricultural production, i.e. food production.
Currently, all four originally present European vultures (Cinereous vulture, Griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture and Bearded vulture) nest in Spain. In recent years, another species, Rüppell’s griffon vulture, has expanded from Africa to the region and today, five species from this group nest in Europe. With the extinction of the Cinereous vulture and Egyptian vulture, the Griffon vulture remains the sole representative of scavengers in Croatia. The challenges of its preservation and the improvement of the nesting population’s status on the Kvarner islands are addressed by the European LIFE SUPport project under the leadership of BIOM Association.
“Participation in the conference in Cáceres gave us a much better insight into the best practices of vulture conservation across Europe and beyond. New experiences and established contacts will certainly speed up and improve certain activities within our LIFE SUPport project. With their characteristic way of feeding, scavenger birds ensure healthy ecosystems, and it is up to us to enable them to continue performing this function. Especially since their service is free,” said LIFE SUPport Project Manager Dubravko Dender from BIOM Association.
“To be surrounded by numerous colleagues and experts working on scavenger protection around the world was really a positive experience and gave us an additional incentive to continue our work on preserving the last population of Griffon vultures in Croatia. The activities we carry out, in most cases, are equal or similar to the good practices of colleagues from other European countries, but the importance of new knowledge and international cooperation in the management of vulture populations is unquestionable, because birds do not know administrative borders”, said Marko Modrić, director of the Public Institution “Priroda”.
(This article was translated into English by Tihana Goričnik)